Am I writing this post for the entertainment of anyone who reads it or merely trying to put my goals into writing so I feel morally obliged to follow through with them? I’ll leave the answer to that up to you, but ideally I hope to do a little of both! Many people think New Years resolutions are corny, but I feel like they’re a great extra push to build healthy, realistic goals and find out what habits you need to form to achieve them. In college, I’ve enjoyed keeping track of my progress of different goals through lists and charts, a routine that relaxes me at the end of busy days and keeps my ambitions at the front of my mind. Here, I’ll go over some of my New Years resolutions and how I am keeping track of how I am doing with them.
Goal #1: Healthier Eating Habits
I’ve been guilty of not giving a shit about what I eat since the dawn of time. In high school I did dance almost daily and lucked out with a high metabolism, both of which bailed me out of my horrible eating habits. I took the gift of being able to eat whatever I wanted while maintaining a slim figure for granted, and honestly welcomed the 25-30 pounds I put on in college after years of being self-conscious about having the body type of a preteen boy. I still feel happy with the healthy weight I’m at and appreciate having slightly more curves than I did, but I also realize that if I continue eating the way I do, I’ll start to find myself not looking the way I’d like to. This isn’t just about body shape either; over time I’ve realized many of my skin problems and feeling sluggish also stem from how I eat. As a result, I’m starting to make changes in my daily life, like making sure I start my day with a good breakfast, only keeping nutritious foods in my room, and cutting out unhealthy and processed foods (except for special occasions). Currently, I’m challenging myself to remove cookies, candy, cakes, donuts, soda, white bread, chocolate, fast food, ice cream, chips and burgers from my diet for the next month after seeing a post challenging people to do so. I’m no nutritionist and I think a lot of fad diets are dangerous, but I think avoiding desserts and processed foods in favor of healthy substitutes is a good step to take. Because it upsets my stomach, can clog pores/cause breakouts and in an effort to be more animal-friendly, I am also trying to cut some dairy products like milk and creamer out and using almond milk instead! I will never give up cheese, though. To track this habit, I made a chart of 30 squares and will fill one in each day I successfully eat healthy. I am also tracking the next month in particular by writing down dates and putting a green dot on days I followed my goal and a red dot on days I didn’t.
Goal #2: Ooo Another Cliche… Exercising Regularly
As mentioned before, I used to dance a lot, and while I still do through groups at school, the weekly/biweekly classes and practices are nowhere near as frequent and time-consuming as the schedule I once had. In many ways this is good for my course load and demanding commitments, but it also means I have to find different ways to meet the amount of exercise I need to maintain good physical and mental health. Besides dance, I try to attend classes my school offers like Zumba, walk places instead of Ubering (also because I’m broke), and developing a gym routine that works for me. All of this is pretty straightforward, my challenge has just been getting myself to exercise after long days and finding good times in my schedule to walk 3 feet to one of my school’s gyms. To track forming this habit, I used my weak art skills to make a 30 day chart using circles to describe my exercise that day. A filled in circle means I did heavy exercise like going to the gym or dance, a circle with an “x” in it means I did light exercising like walking or yoga and an empty circle means I did nothing. So far I’ve kept a good balance the first 3 days by having a different type of circle for each day, and I hope to grow in consistency with exercising over time.
Goal #3: Meditating More
I always liked meditating at the end of yoga classes for a bit and Im all about relaxation and reflection, but I had never done meditation extensively until 2018. My first big experience with it was during my trip to India last summer when we stayed in a Buddhist monastery, and to be honest I did’t love it. Maybe it was because it was towards the end of the trip, it was the first destination I got sick at and we were meditating for half hour periods early in the morning, but I also struggled to concentrate sitting in the classic meditation position and discussing concepts like “if you have a bowl of the cereal, is the cereal actually in the bowl? Are we all actually cereal and is cereal us?” (No joke, this is a conversation we had!). Also, we weren’t allowed to hurt animals which sounded great until giant spiders started showing up on our bedroom walls. Anyway, I have a lot of respect for the Buddhism, and its philosophies and history are amazing, but I struggled to resonate with one of its main practices which I kicked myself for because I really wanted to like it. I thought I had sworn off meditation forever, but last semester when I as struggling with my mental health, I ended up coming across the app Headspace and loved it! It lets you control how long your meditation sessions are, allows you to make any tweaks you need to feel comfortable, has different exercises for anxiety, productivity, etc., and you can sign up to get notifications throughout the day with great mantras and tips on how to center yourself! I want to continue making meditation part of my life and see where the journey takes me next, so like my other goals, I am tracking my progress with it over the next month. For this chart, I made 30 raindrop-shapes (because I thought those were relaxing?) and every day I meditate, I fill one of them in and every time I don’t, I leave one blank. I hope that incorporating meditation into my daily routine will make me less anxious and more productive!
I hope if any of you reading have New Years resolutions they’re going well, and remember that you don’t have to give up on them if you don’t do well with them every day or are having a hard time getting started! Any progress, no matter how little, is still progress, and every day is made up of small choices that can add up to big accomplishments if you make decisions based on what aligns with your goals and who you want to be. Thank you for reading!